Pumpkin Cottage

Pumpkin Cottage
sit and visit a spell

Sunday, July 31, 2011

It's raining it is pouring......

We love the rain.  The entire family got up to sit on the porch listening to the rain, thunder and lightening.  Such a lovely surprise.   A grey sky against all the green of the trees.

Today will be a day to wrap up projects. Going to watch Funny Face.
Tomorrow is the first day of August.....so we have to get
on with painting our anniversary shadow box.

Mr. Lee made pancakes and peanut butter cookies.  We don't usually get to
bake in the summer but today is a very special day indeed.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hollywood Court Cottage

There is no doubt that my mother influenced much of what I do today but no where is it more profound than in my love of cottage gardening and possibly in my love of cottages.

Here is my niece, Christine, and my mother, Alzira, outside the little Hollywood Court cottage on Johnston Street where my mother lived after my father passed away.
I am guessing this photo was taken in 1993.
 This is the street side of the garden.
This is what the Plum Tree Court vacation rentals look like today.
The first cottage on the left is where my mother lived.

For this photo only: photo credit Wayman Barnes

This is the interior garden, business side, where vegetables
were grown to supplement my mother's Social Security budget.
Don't even get me started on that topic.
Those are fava beans on the left it's probably April or May since they are blooming.
See the hen and chick succulents along the sidewalk?  I have some of the baby
chicks from those plants in my front garden.  My mother always had flat leaf parsley
and mint in pots in her garden.  Yesterday, as I watered my own potted mint the
scent took me right to childhood and the sopas of the holy ghost festival.
My mother's little garden also housed roses, kale, and a variety of lettuce.
Everything tastes better fresh but lettuce has so much more flavor and depth
if grown in your own garden. I can't even describe the deliciousness
of a plain lettuce salad with a light vinaigrette.
Yep, it's April see the white and red sweet peas. There are carnations,
cosmos, and potato vines but those would bloom later.
The calla lilies defined the end of my mother's garden.

That's the back door to the cottage leading to the kitchen where
all invited family and friends entered.
I remember stepping into the middle of the street to get these photos.
If I stop to close my eyes I can go back to this very moment in time.  To the
smell of my mother's garden with onions growing next to red roses.
The events and milestones celebrated in this little cottage are still with
me.  Isn't it funny how we really do travel through time?
It is the significance of our memories that keeps our loved ones with us
During the last few months of my mother's life I would sit with her
for hours just holding her hand because I wanted to remember what
it felt like.  Hours of quiet communication.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Holy Ghost Festivities

This photo is a jewel among my mother's collection of photos.
It is a quintessential symbol of the Portuguese Holy Ghost Festivals
held throughout California and in my island of Pico, Azores.  

The women join the traditional parade, carrying their baskets as you see here.
The baskets carry the homemade special occasion
bread: Bolo de vesperas.  Notice the handmade lace that decorates
the linens in each basket.

My mother would say that these women had hands of gold.
Hands that could make any thing and made everything with

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Our Beloved Waffle

We lost our beloved Waffle this morning.  She was 17 years old. 
Do you see the sweetness in her face?   As a family we feel blessed to have
had such a wonderful companion and loyal friend. 
Mark was 7 and Nicholas only 3 when
Waffle joined our family.  Mark had the privilege of naming her.

She was only five months old and I was a fulltime mom with two little boys.
Things changed quickly as I returned to work fulltime and became a single mom.
The reason our family lives in the Pumpkin Cottage today is because of two
very special dogs that needed a house with a yard.   Two precious dogs
that, too, were the victims of the circumstances of divorce.

There have only been three dogs in my life.
A family watch dog that we had back in the Azores.
Redd, an American Cocker Spaniel born on Valentine's Day and
Waffle, a Cardigan Welsh  Corgi. We have always felt like pet parents
not dog owners; knowing that bringing animals into our home and hearts
is a lifetime commitment.

Here is VoVo, Redd, and Waffle (forever the puppy) in early
2001 right after we moved in. My mother loved these dogs and
they loved her.

Each precious and remembered.
Our entire family loved our sweet girls.
They are gone now but forever in our hearts.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


When we moved to Riverside, I wanted to have kittens, chickens and a clothesline.
We had planned on purchasing a home in the wood streets.  As often happens, our plans took another path.  Our little cottage was new and located in an association where we would not be allowed to have clotheslines or chickens.  My desire for a clothesline and chickens is all wrapped up in my growing up memories.

Special memories of crisp and fresh smelling bed sheets dried in the sun coupled with stark white linens washed in bluing all seem familiar and comforting.  Fresh eggs from our friendly hens, I only liked the egg whites, are all memories I wanted to share with our growing children.

Still, we do have a lovely garden and a lovely cat.  In the Pumpkin Cottage, we eat fresh fruit from our garden and local farmer's markets.  We collect strawberry baskets for storage and collect images of lovely flowers for our garden.

Here is a picket fence that only exists in my fantasies.
Shasta daisies and yellow cosmos.  Heavenly.

Cosmos were one of my mother's favorite cottage flowers and
they hold a special place in my heart, too.  Their bright and simple
form with airy foliage.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Silverado Trading Company

This was Fred Sanford heaven in Rainbow, California.
Silverado Trading Company is moving to Los Angeles but in the
meantime make a visit.  The owners are super friendly.  Jacob
and Holly loved the visit as much as we did. Also check out their location in
Myrtle Creek.  The entire family has been invited to spend the day.

Myrtle Creek Nursery was also recommended.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Portuguese Treats in San Jose's Alum Rock Neighborhood

Alum Rock.   We decided not to head home without Portuguese treats.
My mother used to load us up with all my childhood favorites.  It is our desire
to carry on this tradition for our children.

My memories of my mother staying outside until she could no longer see
our car driving away stays with me.  She'd always questioned my certainty,
had I picked up all our belongings, because she hated to find even the smallest toy
after our departure...it made her cry.  The only way to calm the bittersweet memories
is to find savory and sweet Portuguese treats.

First stop savory, Goulart's, where the service is super friendly and informative.

Second stop sweet, another super friendly destination with all my
favorite bakery goods and cheese.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Shop We Missed

Better for traveling then for shopping.  This is Tangerine in Dublin.Alas, we enjoyed the lovely eye candy.  Definitely worth a return trip to the East Bay.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Visiting Oakland

Just a quick trip through Oakland.  The Bay Area has a little diamonds
just waiting to be discovered.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Planning our Anniversary Gift

Years ago before life was so full, we would make special Valentine and anniversary gifts.
This year, for our 10th wedding anniversary, we are planning on making a shadow box.
For years I have collected tiny trinkets.  Check out ideas here.  And it all started here.

This little cottage is so much like our Pumpkin Cottage.

Friday, July 15, 2011

More San Francisco

Everyone at Renegade is so sweet and accommodating.
The little knitted caterpillar Holly is holding flew into the water outside.
It was very windy and Holly was very brave.

The Los Angeles Renegade is this weekend but it is also the weekend
of carmageddon on the 405 Freeway.  Sadly, we will not be

There were amazing lanterns.

A little exploring through the City.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tessa Kiros

It is wonderful when I discover a new book from an old favorite.
Thank you Bay Books in Half Moon Bay. The photos would be enough.
The recipes make this book a must have.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

San Francisco Get Along Style

 Renegade Craft Fair has out grown this venue.  Yahoo, what an
 adventure in craft culture and ingenuity.  The newest thing for the
 twenty-something set...are you ready?  Handle-bar mustaches.
 Unlike.  I love facial hair, I love goats but men needing wax
 not so much.

All the way to Renegade...we kept dismissing our fellow minivan
passengers with, "Good day, sir."  "I said, Good day."
And what did we first see at Renegade?

The lip balm above is from Bunny Butt.
Wall to wall people.. Worth it, but we hope the venue will be larger next time.